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    The Vet Dr. John De Jong Sunday, January 28, 2018

    Q Despite the colder weather, my Frenchie continues to itch. He did improve when taking a medication my vet gave him called Apoquel. While his itching is less frequent now, I am hoping you could explain why he continues to scratch. The dog is not quite 2 years old, and he is other­wise healthy. Can I keep him on this medication? His skin is also a little dry, so I have thought about giving him some supplements from the local pet store. His skin looks good otherwise.

    A Apoquel is a great medication at controlling itchiness, or pruritis, in dogs, but it treats the symptoms associated with allergies and not the root cause of the problem. It is a much safer drug than the historically used steroids. Studies have shown it to be effective for a long time, with a wide margin of safety.
    I would suggest that you either have a veterinary dermatologist review the case or have a good discussion about it with your veterinarian. Here are a few questions worth asking: Were skin scrapings done to rule out mange mites? Has any allergy testing been done? What about considering desensitization with allergy shots? Have you tried your dog on a novel protein diet in case the dog has allergies to certain meat proteins?
    Just because the weather is cold, one cannot assume that there are no fleas around, so make sure skin parasites aren’t the cause. Are you using a flea and tick preventative? Also ask yourself if your home is dry this winter.
    As for supplements, I would work with your veterinarian to use a good source of Omega 3 oils rather than buying over-the-counter products. With good diagnostics, you might be able to solve the itching. If not, the medication you were given for your dog will suffice. Good luck.


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